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Flagging a vehicle with an odometer discrepancy is a way that the states and the federal government try to prevent odometer fraud.  

However, just like any process involving paperwork, databases, and records, mistakes can happen. 

If you own a vehicle that has been incorrectly reported as having an odometer discrepancy, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to correct it. 

Accurate odometer readings will help you get the most money for your vehicle and make the sale easier. 

What is an Odometer Discrepancy?

A odometer discrepancy describes a situation in which the vehicle’s reported mileage does not match the vehicle’s actual mileage. 

It is a brand or status that can be placed on a vehicle’s title by the state DMV and it is also a check that may show up in a third-party vehicle history report. 

What causes an odometer discrepancy?

There are a few different causes of odometer discrepancies, including:

  • Reporting errors. 
  • Incorrect guesses by previous owners.
  • Faulty or broken odometer. 
  • Vehicles purchased at auction. 
  • Odometer rollback. 
  • Odometer freezes. 
  • 5-digit odometer rollover (excess of mechanical limits).

How to Fix an Odometer Discrepancy on the Vehicle Title

If there is an incorrect odometer discrepancy warning that has been recorded on your vehicle’s title, you’ll need to fix it through your state DMV. 

When an odometer discrepancy shows up in the DMV’s vehicle record, a brand or flag may be placed on the title. 

In order to correct it, you’ll need to follow your state’s DMV process for correcting the title. This typically involves:

  • Submitting an Application for Corrected Vehicle Title. 
  • Providing the DMV with evidence of the actual odometer reading or why the discrepancy status is in error. This may include:
    • Up to 2 or more years of VIN-specific records, repair bills, or other documents that have reported the vehicle’s mileage. 
  • Provide the incorrect title. 
  • Submit your application and documents to the DMV.
  • Pay the corrected title fee. 

If the DMV is satisfied with the evidence you are able to provide, it will update the title and correct the vehicle records in their database. 

Accurate odometer readings are typically branded as “Actual” while incorrect readings are often flagged as “Not Actual.”

Do not attempt to fix an odometer discrepancy by crossing out the error or correcting your title yourself. These actions may invalidate your pink slip.

How to Fix an Odometer Discrepancy on a Vehicle History Report

One place where an odometer discrepancy can show up is in the vehicle history report

If you are preparing to sell your vehicle, you may want to order a vehicle history report that you can provide to your prospective buyers. 

However, an incorrect odometer discrepancy flag can have a negative impact on a person’s willingness to buy and the overall price you’ll be able to get for the car. 

Sometimes, odometer discrepancies can be reported by third-party companies in error due to a mistake, mix-up, or something else. 

If the odometer discrepancy is showing up incorrectly when you run a vehicle history report, you’ll need to contact the vehicle history provider to get the issue fixed. 

In order to fix an odometer error that is showing up on your vehicle history report, you’ll need to follow the instruction of the specific provider. In most cases, you’ll need to:

  • Indicate the VIN for your vehicle. 
  • Indicate which information is in error and provide evidence or additional information as to why. 
  • Include the necessary contact information. 
  • Submit your request. 

Odometer Exempt Vehicles

Unfortunately, as a vehicle gets older, odometer discrepancies are more likely to occur. 

The older the vehicle, the more difficult it can be to verify its actual mileage.

This can be caused by mechanical odometer limits or rollovers, broken odometers, multiple changes of ownership, etc. 

The federal odometer law makes it illegal to disconnect, reset, or alter an odometer with the intent to change the mileage indicated. 

For vehicles that are less than 20 years old, a written and signed odometer disclosure statement is required of the seller in order to transfer ownership. 

Vehicles exempt from the written disclosure include cars that are model year 2010 or older. 

If a car is exempt from the odometer disclosure statement, “Exempt” may be listed on the title. This status cannot be changed.